– First things first: Stephen King is on Twitter. Follow if you must, he may have a few good things to say.
– Michel Faber has a new novel on its way, 10 years after the publication of his last bestseller The Crimson Petal and the White. The novel is called The Book of Strange New Things, although it is uncertain at the moment whether it will lean more towards Crimson Petal or his odder work Under the Skin
– The Specsavers National Book Award winners were announced last week (11th December). UK Author of the year went to Kate Atkinson, whose 2013 novel Life after Life has been a critical darling this year. Robert Harris’ An Officer and a Spy won Popular Fiction Book of the Year and the Non-Fiction Prize went to I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb.
– The Man Booker Prize 2014 continues to raise controversy as, along with allowing U.S. entrants into the running, next year’s prize will now add some notable Americans to the judging panel (Sarah Churchwell and Erica Wagner, former literary editor of the Times). The longlist will not be announced until July, and the shortlist will follow in September.
– 82 year old Canadian writer Alice Munro has posted a video response to her recent Nobel Prize win, which she is unable to attend in person due to flight concerns. The video is a half hour interview titled ‘In her Own Words’ and in it she discusses in detail her joyful reaction to winning, her career as a short story writer, and her role as an award-winning female writer: NobelPrize.org
– Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is receiving a new cinematic treatment by production giant 20th Century Fox, and director Ridley Scott. The 1974 film was a success at that year’s Academy Awards, and the 2010 ITV production starred a before-she-was-famous Jessica Chastain – who do you think will round out the cast for this new adaptation, considering it already has this kind of backing?
-An animated adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank is being planned, with award-winning filmmaker Ari Folman tasked with bringing Anne Frank’s story to the big screen. In further literature-movie news, contemporary writer David Foster Wallace is due to be played in an upcoming film by Hollywood actor Jason Segel (Freaks and Geeks, How I Met Your Mother). The film will be based upon David Lipsky’s book of his road trip experience with the late author.
– In honour of writer Shirley Jackson’s birthday, here is a list of some of the most controversial short stories ever published – a list compiled to celebrate the author of the 1948 shocker ‘The Lottery’: http://flavorwire.com/429677/10-controversial-short-stories/view-all/
– Finally, from Dave Eggers to A.M. Homes, here is a list of some of the funniest books to have hit shelves this year: BookRiot